June is Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month

About Us

Our mission is to empower people living with neuromuscular diseases to live longer, more independent lives.

Muscular Dystrophy Association Tribute Awards To Honor St. Louis’ Dr. Alan Pestronk Of Washington University School Of Medicine, Mike Bush Of Ksdk-tv & ‘the Flying Pigs’ Team On Primetime ‘show Of Strength’ September 4

NEW YORK, NY – August 3, 2022 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will honor Dr. Alan Pestronk of Washington University School of Medicine, Mike Bush, legendary anchor of NBC's KSDK-TV 5 On Your Side, and MDA Muscle Walk team 'The Flying Pigs' comprised of the Hawn and Bliss Holler families. The awards will be part of the 35th Annual 'Show of Strength' hosted by Bush on Sunday, September 4, broadcasting in primetime on KSDK-TV live from Grants Farm in St. Louis, Missouri, from 8-10pm CT.

Muscular Dystrophy Association Tribute Awards. Images of Dr. Alan Pestronk, Mike Bush, and The Flying Pigs Team comprised of the Hawn and Bliss Holler families
Muscular Dystrophy Association Tribute Awards honor St. Louis’ Dr. Alan Pestronk of Washington University School of Medicine, Mike Bush of NBC’s KSDK-TV, and ‘The Flying Pigs’ Team comprised of the Hawn and Bliss Holler families.

Throughout MDA's 70+ year history, local volunteers and communities have continued to be at the heart of the organization's mission to empower the people it serves to live longer, more independent lives. The MDA Tribute Award honors the legacy and life's work of those who have been tireless in their efforts to support the patients and families in the neuromuscular disease community. NBC's KSDK-TV 'Show of Strength' continues to raise funds in support of MDA's Summer Camp, Care Centers, research, advocacy, and support services.

  • MDA Tribute Awardee Dr. Alan Pestronk, MDA & ALS Care Center Co-Director at Washington University School of Medicine has served MDA families for over 50 years treating adults and children for diseases of muscles and nerves. Dr. Pestronk's work has brought progress in neuromuscular diseases and hope to families. He has trained over 100 neuromuscular fellows to continue to make breakthroughs. Dr. Pestronk served on MDA's Medical Advisory Committee.
  • MDA Tribute Awardee Mike Bush – MDA honors Bush, legendary anchor and host of KSDK's MDA 'Show of Strength' fundraiser. Bush has remained steadfastly committed to MDA families for 35 years and helped to raise critical funds to advance research, care and advocacy for people living with neuromuscular diseases.
  • MDA Tribute Awardee Muscle Walk Team 'The Flying Pigs,' a unique team of two families who were neighbors, Jennifer and Chris Hawn, and Emily Bliss and Doug Holler and their three children. Together, their family connection to neuromuscular diseases led them to build a team to raise critical awareness and funds for research and care for families. Their struggle of love, loss and hope fuel their mission to make the impossible possible – as in 'when pigs fly.' They see a flying pig as a symbol of hope and faith, believing that if we work together, nothing is impossible.

"This award reflects my long-time, very gratifying relationship with MDA. MDA supported my own neuromuscular fellowship training and my first research grant at Johns Hopkins in the 1970's. During the past 30+ years, MDA has supported our multidisciplinary MDA adult and pediatric clinics at Washington University in St Louis. Our neuromuscular group has collaborated with MDA to develop understanding, treatments and improvements in the quality of life of patients with myasthenia gravis, hereditary myopathies, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spinal muscular atrophy and other neuromuscular disorders," said Dr. Pestronk.

"I've been involved with MDA for more than 30 years and these kids and adults are my heroes. They face challenges every day with kindness and grace, and it's the great honor of my life to do anything I can to help," said Bush.

"MDA Tribute Tours have celebrated Strength in Unity, Strength in Community in Las Vegas, Nashville, Houston and now St. Louis. We can't wait to come together in a show of strength, gratitude, and admiration for these extraordinary individuals who have been tireless in their efforts to support our St. Louis families and communities we serve," said Kristine Welker, MDA's Chief of Staff.

MDA Tribute Tour – St. Louis

  • Labor Day Weekend: International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), Fire and EMS professionals of St. Louis Local 73 and Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665 will Fill the Boot in and around the St. Louis metro area throughout Labor Day Weekend. St. Louis Fire Fighters Local 73 will also Fill the Boot ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals games September 2 through 5, 90-minutes prior to game time in Ballpark Village.
  • Saturday, September 3 at 5:40pm CT: MDA Advocate Madison Lawson will participate in an honorary pitch alongside Donald S. Wood, PhD, President and CEO of MDA at Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals game.
  • Sunday, September 4 from 8-10pm CT: NBC's 5 On Your Side KSDK-TV 'Show of Strength' two-hour primetime television special live from Grant's Farm for the 35th anniversary of Mike Bush's hosting of this time-honored Labor Day weekend fundraiser. Anne Allred and Rene Knott will co-host. Donations may be made at MDA.org/ShowOfStrength. The show can be watched live on KSDK, ksdk.com, KSDK's YouTube channel, and through the 5+ app available for free on Roku and Fire TV. The show features stories from the neuromuscular disease community, including MDA Tribute Awards honoring families at the heart of the mission, medical teams at MDA's pediatric, adult and ALS Care Centers including at Washington University School of Medicine, volunteers and partners.

"Hope for a longer, more independent life is now becoming a reality for thousands of patients with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular diseases. And the pipeline of promise – more life empowering treatments and cures – is growing and creating ever more hope for the millions of patients and their families who are at the heart of MDA's mission and vision. We are pleased to bring together the MDA community in St. Louis – including our families, medical teams from our Care Center Network, our IAFF partners and the Cardinals – to kick off Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month in September. This is an important time of year for key milestone events, longstanding traditions with valued partners and innovative programming including community education, engagement with the MDA Tribute Tour and advocacy," said Donald S. Wood, PhD, President and CEO of MDA.

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is the #1 voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. For over 70 years, MDA has led the way in accelerating research, advancing care, and advocating for the support of our families. MDA's mission is to empower the people we serve to live longer, more independent lives. To learn more visit mda.org and follow MDA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn.